Meal Prep- Why and How? 17


If you’ve been following me on Instagram for a while, the first thing you’d know about me is that I encourage meal prepping. Always.
No matter what.
So I decided it was about time to give you a bit more info as to why and how πŸ™‚

Why should you meal prep?
There are so many benefits to meal prepping but the biggest of all is that it will save your diet (even if you’re not trying to lose weight- I just mean in terms of what you eat daily) and stop you from choosing unhealthy options. The reasoning behind this is that if you’re feeling a little peckish and if you nutritious, ready-to-eat food on hand, you’re much more likely to choose that than reach for and binge on something full of junk.
Also, although meal prepping can take a while, it will save you much more time during the week than cooking or preparing each individual meal.

 

Okay, so how should I begin meal prepping?
Well first of all, it’s good to know which foods are the best to work with.
Here’s a list of what I find is best;
PROTEINS; chicken breast, turkey mince, canned salmon/tuna
GRAINS; brown rice, sweet potato, quinoa
VEGGIES; asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, long beans, zucchini, spinach, frozen stir-fry mix

I use both frozen and fresh veggies and just chuck them all in the steamer.

I use both frozen and fresh veggies and just chuck them all in the steamer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now to begin the prepping.
I plan what meals I make before starting although these hardly ever change from the usual- Thai Satay Stir Fry with Turkey Meatballs, Honey Mustard Chicken with Steamed Veggies, Balsamic Salad with Roasted Chicken, Fish and Sweet Potato Fries.
meal prep 3

Then I get started. At the beginning, you’ll find that it takes a while to do your meal prep but over time, you’ll get quicker and finally, you’ll find the most efficient method for you.
This is mine;

  1. Begin cooking brown rice in a rice cooker.
  2. Preheat oven to 180C.
  3. Season turkey mince with cumin, cayenne pepper and paprika. Roll into meatballs and place onto an oiled tray/casserole dish (have them about an inch in diameter).
  4. Cut chicken breast into strips (around 2 cm thick so they cook the same time as the turkey) and season with Mrs. Dash Original Chicken Blend, Taco Seasoning or simply pink salt and pepper. Then place onto oiled tray/casserole dish.
  5. Put both meats in the oven for 20 mins or until cooked.
  6. Meanwhile, start cutting up your veggies and steaming or frying them, depending on preference. I just chuck about 1.5kg of Frozen Stir-Fry Mix, Broccoli and Cauliflower into the steamer.
  7. Start cooking Quinoa or other grains at this time too.
  8. Lay out your tupperware/plastic containers in a row, ensuring you have enough for the whole week. At this point in time, I sort out my salad leaves and spinach into each of the containers (Mon, Wed and Fri I use a Mesclun mix for salads. Tue, Thurs, Sun and Sat I use Baby Spinach for stir-fries).
  9. Around this time, the rice, meat and veggies should be done. So simply spoon each into the containers prepared.
  10. Close and label the containers with the day they are for.

And you’re done!!

I normally meal prep on Sunday and the meals stay fresh until Friday. I freeze Saturday and Sunday’s meals. Then when I warm the meals up, if they are stir-fries, or toss them, if they are a salads, on the morning-of, I add the sauce (whether it be Thai Satay, Teryaki or Salad Dressing)
Also, with the salads, I normally just prep the leaves, the carbohydrates and the meat. I chop up the vegetables the night before (as tomatoes, cucumber and capsicum doesn’t keep too well if not heated up before eating).

meal prep

TIPS
– Measure out your portion sizes. This ensures that you have enough for the whole week, instead of too much at the beginning and then nothing at the end.
– Plan ahead. If you know that lunch at work/school is provided for say, Wednesday and Friday, there is no point making lunches for that day as the food may just go to waste.
– If freezing your meals, take them out of the freezer and allow them to defrost in the fridge the night before. Then heat them up the next day (whether it be in the microwave or on the stovetop).
– If you like to snack in between meals, have some prepared food for that too. I buy no-fat, no sugar added yoghurt (in snacking tubs), fruit, nuts (and split them into 50g portions on the weekend),Β Balance protein bars and veggie sticks (that I cut up on the weekend).

 

So there you have it! Meal Prep summed up in one post.
Of course there’s a bit more to it but you’ll learn along the way.
If you’d like more info, just head to Meal Prep MondaysΒ or comment below.

Stay Strong,
@fitandfiesty


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

17 thoughts on “Meal Prep- Why and How?

  • Elle

    Hi,
    My name is Elle I’m from Brisbane, Australia. I follow your Instagram and love it. I have been trying to get my head around meal prepping for quite some time… How many meals would you usually prep at one time? Is this just lunches? And when you say you freeze weekend meals I assume you keep reheatable meals for those Saturdays and Sundays and eat more salads at the beginning of the week? Any tips are much appreciated and thank you for your insight πŸ™‚ Elle

    • gradarah Post author

      Hey Elle! Thanks so much for following, I’m glad you like it!
      To answer your questions;
      1. I usually prep 7 meals at each meal prep and yes, they are just lunches because I have time to cook dinner. However, if you’re rushed for time in the evening, feel free to meal prep for both lunch and dinner. I know successful meal-preppers that prep breakfasts, lunch, dinner and dessert!
      2. Yes, I do freeze my weekend meals and yes, they mostly consist of frozen veggies, rice and chicken; things that freeze quite well. And yep! I save my salads for the beginning, where the leaves stay fresh.

      Other than that, I suppose it’s just trial and error- finding what works for you and sticking with it!

  • Rosa

    Does the food lose nutritional value when it’s prepped ahead of time? I’m just worried that I will get nothing out of it besides time-saving.

    • Fitandfiesty Post author

      Hi Rosa,
      According to the US Food and Drug Administration on food safety, if you’ve cut your vegetables and store them in airtight containers in the fridge, they would not lose much of their nutrients (about as much as keeping the actual vegetable in your fridge, normally) for up to 4 to 5 days. This is why I recommend freezing your meals for the 6th and 7th day as freezing preserves the nutritional value a lot better.
      Of course, reheating may also lead to nutrient loss but this is minimal too. Overall, the nutritional value of your pre-packed meals will be a lot higher than any other fast-food, greasy option anyways so yes, it will be of a huge benefit to not only your health but your stress levels too! πŸ™‚
      xxx

  • Amy

    So when you prepare your food and you have salads do you freeze them to ? And when you make them
    The Sunday do you freeze them
    All except the Monday one your going to eat ?

    • Fitandfiesty Post author

      I don’t freeze the salads; normally i find that the leaves keep fresh until the day that I need them (and I cut the veggies the night before). I only freeze the meals I have on Saturday and Sunday, and then leave them in the fridge the night before to defrost.
      The meals from Mon-Fri last just fine in the fridge. xxx

    • Fitandfiesty Post author

      Aww thanks so much, Sunnie, is it?
      Funny, there’s a girl that goes to my school with exactly the same name.. and email address πŸ™‚
      Love you, xx

  • Renee

    Im a 29 year old 5 ft 2″ 60kg woman, I train regularly, eat quite well but would like to get leaner and more muscle definition but slim down. do i need to take protein supplements too? There’s so much out there and I’m not sure what to take or if I even need to?

    • Fitandfiesty Post author

      Hi! Normally, I would recommend having a protein rich diet if you intend to cut down on body fat while maintaning muscle but it’s not always necessary to take protein supplements. In fact, it would be more beneficial to you if you were to get your protein from whole foods such as lean meats, dairy products and beans etc.
      I just chucked your details into a protein calculator and you need about 100-110g a day so maybe just check that you’re getting this amount. If not, then perhaps look into getting a protein supplement to take immediately after your strength training workouts. I would personally recommend Balance Sport Nutrition’s Whey Protein Isolates as they have one of the best ingredient and nutritional profiles. This type of protein is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream, which is perfect for post-workout as it can replenish your muscles and start repairing them straight away.

  • Itzel Hernandez

    Hi! My name is Itzel, I’m 19, and I just started following your Instagram which led me to your page(: I’m going to enter my second year of college and I think prepping for meals is going to help me save time and stay healthy.So I appreciate this post as I find it helpful, but I would like to know how, or when do you incorporate the meals/desserts/and other foods you post on your website because I think they’re awesome and because I also like snacking a lot! Would be helpful to know, thank you!(:

    • Fitandfiesty Post author

      Hi Itzel,
      Firstly, thanks for following! Your support means the world.
      I would definitely recommend meal prepping for college as it must get quite busy!
      Generally, I cook those meals for dinners, when I have time after a long day, while my lunches stay more or less the same. I make a huge batch at the start of the week, then reheat as needed, or cook something else in the middle of the week.
      For the desserts and snacks, I just replace my other snacks.. I generally have a mid-morning snack and an afternoon snack but what the actual snack IS changes everyday.
      Does that make sense?
      Thank you again!!!
      Much Love xx

  • Yying

    I saw your blog and have been trying our meal prep for a week as well. Would love to get your opinion on how I did healthylivying.wordpress.com/2014/06/29/meal-prep-first-timer/ πŸ™‚

  • Megan

    I’ve been toying with the idea of meal prep but I’m always unsure when it comes to meats and their fridge life.
    With proteins such as chicken and beef etc. are they safe to eat when just refrigerated for the week and then reheated, or is freezing them better?

    • Fitandfiesty Post author

      Hi!
      Just to be on the safe side, I would recommend freezing meats that won’t be eaten in the next 3 days.
      Then simply defrost them the night before you need it and heat it up as required. πŸ™‚